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Add and Manage Student Contacts

[For all Staff] Learn how to add Parents, Family, Approved Pickups, & Emergency Contacts to student profiles on the web/mobile app.

Sabrina avatar
Written by Sabrina
Updated this week

Adding student contacts is crucial for setting up brightwheel. A student's contact list determines which guardians will have access to their profile, what level of access, and how they can interact with their student and the program.

Administrators, Managers, and Lead Staff can choose from four Contact Types: Parent, Family, Approved Pickup, or Emergency Contact. Each Contact Type has different permissions.

🚩Those with Staff and Billing Only permissions cannot invite, add or remove student contacts.


View Student Contacts

The student contact list gives programs complete visibility and control over which parents, family members, approved pickups, and emergency contacts are connected to a child in brightwheel.

💡 Not sure who can see a student's profile? The contact list shows who has access and their level of access. To completely disconnect a parent or family member from the child and ensure they cannot view the profile, remove them as a contact. If they're not listed as a contact, they won't be able to see the profile.

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Students page

  3. Click a student's name to open their profile

  4. Scroll down the Contacts section to view all related contacts and their contact type

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section


Add New Student Contacts

When first setting up brightwheel, there are two options for adding student contacts with their email, or phone number:

  • Upload in Bulk: The fastest and most convenient way to add student information is through our easy Roster Upload Tool

  • Add Manually by Student: To learn how to add these contacts manually, follow the steps outlined below

🚩 Parents, Family, and Approved Pickup contacts are authorized to log in to brightwheel to create their own account and check students in/out. There is no way to prevent these three contact types from being authorized to check a student in/out.

For more information on contact types and permissions, review the resource linked above.

Add Parent Contacts

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Parents page

  3. Locate the applicable student

  4. On that student's row, click Add parent or + Add another parent

  5. Choose New
    💡 If the student contact is already added at the program for a sibling or related child, follow the steps below instead

  6. Add the parent's name and email address or phone number

  7. Click Save Contact

  8. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on Android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section and click the + icon

  4. Select the Contact Type in the popup

  5. Add the contact's information

  6. Tap Save

  7. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later.

Add Family Contacts

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Parents page

  3. Jump to the Family tab

  4. Locate the applicable student

  5. On that student's row, click + Add family member

  6. Add the contact's name and email address or phone number

  7. Click Add Family

  8. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on Android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section and click the + icon

  4. Select the Contact Type in the popup

  5. Add the contact's information

  6. Tap Save

  7. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later.

Add Approved Pickup Contacts

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Parents page

  3. Jump to the Approved Pickups tab

  4. Locate the applicable student

  5. On that student's row, click + Add approved pickup

  6. Add the contact's name and email address or phone number

  7. Click Add Approved Pickup

  8. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on Android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section and click the + icon

  4. Select the Contact Type in the popup

  5. Add the contact's information

  6. Tap Save

  7. Choose to send a brightwheel invitation now or later.

Add Emergency Contacts

Please be aware that Emergency contacts require only a name and phone number and are not invited to create brightwheel accounts and cannot check a student in/out. They are listed on the student's profile for emergency purposes only.

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Students page

  3. Click the student's name to open their profile

  4. Scroll down to the Contacts section

  5. Click + Add a contact

  6. Select Emergency Contact using the dropdown

  7. Add the contact's name, phone number, and relationship

  8. Click Save Contact

  1. From a room, select the desired student

  2. Tap the Pencil icon to edit on Android or Profile on iOS

  3. Scroll down to the CONTACTS section and click the + icon

  4. Select the Contact Type in the popup

  5. Add the contact's information

  6. Tap Save

💡 When adding a contact, such as parent or family member, its highly recommended to enter either an email address OR a mobile number to minimize errors. Contacts can add additional contact information later after they set up their account.

Additional Insights on Student Contacts

  • For student contacts who are also staff members, refer to our resource on Using brightwheel as a Student Contact and Staff Member for setup instructions.

  • Mobile numbers must be valid US or Canadian numbers.

  • Student contacts can be added with just their name but won't receive invitations until an email or phone number is provided


Add Contacts to Siblings

Once the contact is listed on one student profile, they are considered an Existing Contact in your system. To link that student contact to siblings, or additional student profiles, they should be added using the Existing Contact flow. This lists them with the same information across all profiles, which allows them to view multiple children from one brightwheel account.

  1. Log in to brightwheel on the web

  2. Click on My School

  3. Open the Students page

  4. Select a student by clicking on their name

  5. Scroll down to the Contacts section and click + Add a contact

  6. Jump to the Existing tab in the pop-up
    💡The contact must first be listed on one student profile at the program before they can be added as an existing contact to subsequent students.

  7. Select relationship of the student contact to that student

  8. Select or type the desired contact name from the drop-down list

  9. Click Save Contact

ℹ️ Parents already connected to a student's profile will receive an email notification when a new contact is added to their child for transparency and security.

💡 If a contact is missing a sibling or additional student profile, ensure their contact information matches exactly on each profile. If not, remove and re-add them as an Existing Contact to ensure they can see all their children.


Add Contacts Switching to a New Provider

It's common for student contacts to have already registered for brightwheel and have an existing account if their child attended a previous program, or currently attends multiple programs using brightwheel.

Student contacts and parents can be connected to profiles from multiple programs at once, so no changes are needed from the other program. If a parent created another account elsewhere, they can be added as a contact to connect their account to any new program. To connect them to a student profile at your program, either share their child's unique 10-digit code OR add them with the exact same contact information that's already associated with their current account.

ℹ️ If parents want to remove old student profiles from their account, they can take steps to Remove a Student's Profile.

💡Contacts can verify their account information by tapping the three horizontal lines in the top left corner of the app > selecting Edit Profile to view their email address and/or phone number


Edit a Student Contact

If a contact has not activated their brightwheel account, the program can edit their email, or phone number in brightwheel.

  1. Log in to brightwheel on the web

  2. Click to open the My School menu option and select Parents

  3. Jump to the applicable tab at the top of page: Parents, Family, or Approved Pickups based on the contact's type

  4. Locate the student and their related contacts

  5. Click the icon next to the contact's name

  6. Update the needed contact information

  7. Click Save Contact

ℹ️ Once a contact signs up for brightwheel with an email address or phone number, programs cannot change the contact's name, email, or phone number any further; the contact controls their own information and can update it in their profile. However, at anytime, Admins, Managers, and Lead Staff can remove a contact if their account information was entered incorrectly (i.e., typo in the email address) and needs to be re-added with the correct information


Update Student Contact Type

Programs can adjust a student contacts user type if selected incorrectly (i.e., Family contact that actually needed to be a Parent contact).

  1. Log in to brightwheel on the web

  2. Click on My School and open the Students page

  3. Select a student by clicking on their name

  4. Scroll down to the Contacts section

  5. Click Edit in top right corner of the pane

  6. Click Update on the appropriate contact's row

  7. Use the Contact Type dropdown to select what's needed

  8. Click Save Contact


Remove a Contact

Student contacts can be removed from a student's profile by Administrators, Managers, Lead Staff members, or Parent contacts with edit permissions. Removing a student contact severs the association with the student but does not delete their brightwheel account; they can still log in to view associated students or see a blank page with the brightwheel logo if no other connections exist.

💡 If a student contact is wanting to deactivate/delete their account completely, encourage them to contact brightwheel Support for further assistance.

On the Web

On the App

  1. Click on My School

  2. Open the Parents page

  3. Jump to the applicable tab at the top of page: Parents, Family, or Approved Pickups based on the contact's type

  4. Locate the student and their related contacts

  5. Click the 🗑️ icon next to the student contact

  6. Click Remove

  1. From a room, select the desired student's name to open their profile

  2. Tap the icon on Android or Profile button on iOS to edit

    Scroll down the the CONTACTS section and tap the appropriate contact to open their profile

  3. At the bottom of the profile, tap Remove

  4. Tap Remove again to confirm this action


Troubleshoot Contact Errors

Contacts in a student's profile must be added and modified carefully to ensure the security of the student's personal information. It is common to receive an error message when adding, or modifying a contact if the instructions outlined above are not followed. While most issues are easily resolved following the guidance below, contacting our support team may be necessary for deactivating old or duplicate accounts.

Error Message

Why this happens

How to correct it

The phone number and email belong to different accounts in brightwheel.

This error indicates that there is a mismatch between the email address and mobile phone number entered. This may mean that the contact has two accounts, one with their phone number and one with their email address.

If you can't add a contact and you are attempting to add both an email and phone number, try adding the contact with ONLY their email address, or ONLY their phone number to see if this helps. Next advise the student contact to contact brightwheel Support for assistance with deactivating the account tied to either their phone number, or email so they can add it to their active account.

[Contact name] is already a contact for [Student name].

This indicates that the contact being added is already added as a contact for that student.

If the intent is to change the contact type, simply edit the student contact's profile and choose the desired contact type.

This email belongs to a teacher account. Please use a different email to create their parent account.

This means that the email address of the contact being added is already associated with a staff/teacher account.

  • If the staff account is no longer in use, contact our Support team and let them know the account associated with that email address should be deactivated so they can use it for a parent account.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why does it say the contact information already exists when I attempt add, or update the email/phone number for a student contact?

It could be the student contact has an existing account they are not aware of, preventing you from making changes. If the guardian account is already activated, please note only the student contact is authorized to make changes to their contact information.

The program, or student contact can reach out to brightwheel Support for help in consolidating any duplicate accounts.

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